Keep Your Holiday Light Display Safe
It’s no secret that LED lights are safer than incandescent lights. They use less electricity, stay cool, and last longer. Despite this, holiday decorations start nearly 800 home fires a year. And that’s not including Christmas tree fires! So, let’s review holiday light safety as well as other things to help keep your home warm and cheery and save money on electricity during this season.
Basic Light Safety 1: Don’t Leave LEDs on Overnight
First, it can be tempting to leave your holiday lights on 24/7. But even LED lights should be turned off when you’re sleeping or not at home. Keeping lights on for an extended period of time can even cause LED strings to heat up, potentially turning your decorations into kindling. There are over 150 Christmas tree fires every year. Not only will it help you avoid potential fire hazards. But you can avoid a higher electricity bill too.
Use the Right Lighting Equipment
Next, make sure that you have the right equipment, and that it is in good shape. When stored and used correctly, LED lights can last 40 holiday seasons or more. If you have broken bulbs, or frayed wires, then replace the bulbs or replace the lights. Damaged lights and wires can cause electric shock when plugged in, or even an electrical fire.
Only use lights and extension cords marked for outdoor use with outdoor displays. Outdoor lights and cords have a protective coating that insulates the wires and protects from the elements.
Basic Light Safety 2: Don’t Overload Your Circuits
While you can generally connect several strings of LED lights together, you want to take precautions. First, don’t string too many lights together. You can calculate how many watts of lights you can use on a circuit by multiplying the volts by the amps. But, to stay safe, we only want to use 80% of our total capacity. So a standard 120 volt, 15 amp outlet could handle about 1440 watts of lights.
That’s enough to power 1 hand held blow dryer or more than 40 strings of LED lights connected end to end.
It’s also highly recommended that you make sure any outlets you’re using have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). GFCI’s help prevent electrocution by tripping off the power if it senses a short circuit. Also, if you notice lights flickering, outlets becoming hot, or other signs of circuit overload then turn the power off at the breaker.
Basic Light Safety 3: Keep LED Strings Dry
Winter time is usually wet and snowy in PA. So any outdoor cords that are wet or on the ground are an electrocution hazard. To protect cord connections outdoors, use an extension cord protector and plug cover. This will keep water out the connection and ensure it remains tight. And never install lights with staples or nails! Any tear in the insulation can cause a short and pose a fire risk.
Take LED Lights Down After the Holidays
Finally, it can be tempting to leave your lights up all year. But you should take them down at the end of the season. Outdoor lights especially are not rated for long term use. The cord can degrade during sunlight exposure or bad weather. A general rule is to not leave your outdoor lights up more than 90 days.
Save on Electricity this Holiday Season
While LED’s can save you a lot of money compared to old incandescent lights, the best way to save on electricity is by shopping. Finding the best energy supplier for you will guarantee savings for a long time to come. Read reviews, compare plans, and get the lowest electricity rate all in one place. Visit https://www.paenergyratings.com